It is a little known legend that common pediatric dentists who are honorary Jedi Knights can defeat cavities, but did you know they can also defeat a baby’s tongue tie? In dentistry, the light saber is not a weapon of war, but a powerful instrument of healing. In Fact, especially talented Jedi Knight-Dentists have been using small, modern light sabers since 1990. We call them lasers. Our pediatric dentist, Dr. Troy King has achieved honorary Jedi Knight status.
Naturally, Dr. King is very skilled with his light saber. There are many dental procedures which benefit from the use of a laser. Today’s topic at Childre
n’s Dentistry involves this type of delicate instrument (a soft tissue laser) and a special surgery to relieve tongue and lip-ties.
In regards to lip-and-tongue ties, experts have said, “…the use of lasers for very delicate surgery has revolutionized the treatment.”
A tongue-tie can seriously interfere with a baby’s ability to breast feed and a toddler’s ability to form proper words. In older children, difficulty in speech and eating can contribute to low self-esteem and poor self-image.
To avoid these destructive consequences, Dr. Troy King will perform a small surgery under the tongue with his laser. By definition, tongue-tie or ankyloglossia is caused by a small tight piece of skin between the underside of a person’s tongue and the floor of their mouth.
This small tight piece of skin is called Frenulum or frenum.
In a Frenectomy, it will be removed or altered to allow the tongue to move properly.
Like the light saber of Star Wars legend, the laser does not slice; it effectively dissolves tiny bits of tissue with the energy of light.
There is very little pain or blood and by its nature, the laser is sterile. Even as it removes tissue, it seals surrounding cells with a healing touch. Amazingly, some babies sleep through this procedure.
Reasons for Releasing a Baby’s Tongue-Tie
1. Understandably, if a baby cannot breast feed properly, he or she may be afflicted with low body weight and poor nutrition for development.
2. A mother who is attempting to breast feed a baby with this problem will suffer physically as well as emotionally. Since the baby cannot nurse properly, the mother suffers a great deal of pain during nursing. And sometimes, infection results. For more information about breast feeding and this condition, visit this online resource.
3. The palate might suffer from incorrect development and tooth spacing can definitely be effected with some tongue-ties.
Mysteries and Clues for Parents
There are a few visible signs that can be considered warnings that your baby might require this procedure for proper breast-feeding.
A. You will easily notice the baby’s tongue has a V-shaped notch at the tip, shaping the tongue like a heart.
B. Obviously, the baby cannot put his or her tongue on the roof of the mouth.
C. The baby’s tongue will not stick out past the upper gum.
D. Moving the tongue from one side to the other is awkward, avoided, or obviously uncomfortable.
With these clues and an uncomfortable breastfeeding situation as evidence, Dr. King can perform a Frenectomy on babies who having difficulty nursing.
Some of our patients here at Dentistry For Children are only a few days old. This simple surgical procedure can have life changing results when performed by our own Jedi Knight in his dentist disguise. In Obi Wan Kenobi’s words, “The Force is strong with this one!”
Thank you for reading our blog from Dentistry for Children. We hope you will return to next week for a sequel or part 2 of this laser saga, in which we will continue with some exciting frenectomy facts in older children as well as babies.